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The racial wealth gap is where yesterday’s injustice becomes today’s inequality. And it’s growing.

Episode three of Vox’s new Netflix series explores why.

The racial wealth gap in the USA is massive — and growing.
The racial wealth gap in the USA is massive — and growing.

Since the end of the Civil War, America has slowly and painfully worked to break down racial barriers and heal the wounds of slavery. We’ve made progress, outlawing Jim Crow segregation, passing the Civil Rights Act, and electing our first black president.

But it’s still clear that, as author Mehrsa Baradaran puts it, “past injustices breed present suffering” — especially when it comes to wealth.

The median wealth among white households in America is $171,000. Among black households, it’s $17,600.

Yes, you read that right.

The racial wealth gap is massive, and it’s only getting bigger. Why?

Vox tackled this question in the third episode of our new show with Netflix, Explained. We’ll have new episodes every Wednesday, on topics ranging from the racial wealth gap to gene editing, and more. If you like our videos, then you’ll love this show; it’s our most ambitious video project to date.

To watch, search “Explained” on Netflix or go to Click the “My List” button to make sure you don’t miss an episode!

Learn more about the racial wealth gap:

The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap (Mehrsa Baradaran)

Toxic Inequality: How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, and Threatens Our Future (Thomas Shapiro)

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Edward Baptist)

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (Richard Rothstein)

The Asset Value of Whiteness (Demos)

America’s wealth gap is split along racial lines — and it’s getting dangerously wider (Alvin Chang, Vox)

How America has — and hasn’t — changed since Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, in 11 charts (German Lopez, Vox)

America’s yawning racial wealth gap, explained in 9 charts (Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox)

The case for reparations (Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic)

How housing intensifies the racial wealth gap (Joe Cortright, CityLab)

Ex-loan officer claims Wells Fargo targeted black communities for shoddy loans (Ylan Q. Mui speaks with Beth Jacobson, whom we also interviewed for this episode, for the Washington Post)